CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Neighbors in several south Charlotte neighborhoods report spotting coyotes roaming the streets in recent weeks.
Chad Ham, a resident in the Collingwood neighborhood, said coyote sightings seem to be on the rise.
"I've just seen some walking down the street around dusk, going out, put the sprinkler out, see them walking down the street," Ham said.
Neighbors in Collingwood and Sedgefield areas of Charlotte shared pictures and videos with NBC Charlotte of coyotes lurking near homes.
Ham said he even saw one on his street Sunday night.
"Thought, 'Man, that's crazy,'" he said. "Well, he kind of looked at me and stopped, and then just kept on walking. I thought, well, he might just come over and try to say hi to me, but then he went down and went into a neighbor's backyard."
Chris Matthews, division director for Mecklenburg County Park and Rec, said coyotes are a fairly common sighting in the Charlotte area, and there’s no reason to believe the population may be growing.
Mating season is in early spring around February or March, Matthews said, and pups are usually born in mid to late spring. He said now the pups are starting to move out.
"Some of the pups that were born in the spring are actually starting to leave their families, and they're looking for places to go live,” Matthews said.
The coyotes have been spotted across the Charlotte area, Matthews said, and they have adapted to living in urban areas in close proximity to people.
"There's a lot of food here for them, whether it's people's trash that gets left out or your garden that you planted all your nice vegetables," Matthews said, "Coyotes will eat that."
Matthews said coyotes are also attracted to roadkill and outdoor pets.
"If you have a coyote that’s coming into your backyard, there’s probably a reason for it," Matthews said.
If you do see a coyote, Matthews said you should leave it alone. Also, do not leave cats and small dogs outside unattended because they could be easy prey.